A Guide To Understanding Paranoid Disorder
How to Cope with Paranoia
Living with someone who has been diagnosed with paranoia requires patience, compassion, and strong personal boundaries. The following tips can help you provide the necessary support and assistance to help him in his struggle to overcome paranoia.
Encourage compliance with treatment – His mistrust may interfere with his willingness to take prescribed medications or attend therapy sessions. This occurs commonly in people being treated for paranoia and slows their recovery significantly. Encourage him to follow his treatment program.
Speak clearly – Simple sentences and unambiguous words reduce the chance of being misinterpreted.
Be accepting, yet firm – Delusions are very real to the person having them. Don’t confront the person about their beliefs or attempt to help him reality-test. Communicate that you respect his beliefs, but don’t pretend to share them. Be honest about your own perceptions.
Offer clarification – You can help him cope with his suspicion and mistrust by encouraging him to voice his thoughts, and then explaining your actions in a neutral and non-defensive way.
Anticipate triggers – Symptoms may intensify under new or stressful circumstances. Offer sufficient information in advance so the person will be better prepared for changes and for a possible worsening of symptoms.
Emphasize his strengths – People with paranoia are often very intelligent and high-functioning aside from interpersonal relationships. Be aware of him as a whole person, not just in terms of his symptoms. Focus on his positive traits and behaviors.
Taking Care of Yourself
Caring for a paranoid partner can take a toll. Providing for his needs requires that you continue to meet your own. Avoid becoming overwhelmed by taking these precautions.
Seek balance – Give other aspects of life equal time. Have conversations with him about topics other than his illness. Engage in interests unrelated to his condition. Remember that his paranoia is only one concern in your life, not the center of it.
Maintain your health – Becoming run down will make you less able to provide for his care and lessen your ability to cope. Eat properly, exercise, and get adequate rest. It will increase your energy, improve your state of mind, and enable you to handle the increased stress.
Educate yourself – Learn all you can about his type of paranoia. Strive to understand the symptoms you observe and the treatment he is undergoing. Ask his doctor for clarification and additional information.
Get support – Consider therapy to help you accept his diagnosis and learn coping skills. Ask family and friends for encouragement or assistance. Find a support group for families of people with paranoia.
Coping with a loved one’s paranoia is difficult, and recovery is only possible with professional care. Seek assistance for him and for yourself. Learn all you can to better prepare you for the challenges you will face. Most importantly, remember that you are not alone, and a better future is possible.